“One that I’m sure will be debated endlessly”: One Piece Showrunner Feared Neglecting Don Krieg and Bringing McKinley Belcher III’s Arlong as Season 1’s Villain Would Upset Fans

The showrunners made significant changes to align the characters with live-action versions of the Straw Hat members.

One Piece Showrunner Feared Neglecting Don Krieg and Bringing McKinley Belcher III’s Arlong as Season 1’s Villain Would Upset Fans

SUMMARY

  • Steven Maeda and Matt Owens, showrunners of Netflix's One Piece, faced challenges during production
  • Maeda thought showing Arlong for a greater screen time instead of Don Krieg would stir up controversy among fans
  • One Piece is based on Eiichiro Oda's best-selling manga and the first season consists of 8 episodes tracing through the first 100 chapters of the manga
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Steven Maeda and Matt Owens were the showrunners of Netflix’s One Piece. They’ve shared about the challenges they faced during the series’ production. In an interview with Variety, Maeda expressed his thought that showing Arlong for a greater screen time instead of Don Krieg would stir up massive controversy among the fans.

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Nami, Luffy and Zoro from Netflix's One Piece
Nami, Luffy and Zoro from Netflix’s One Piece

Netflix’s One Piece is based on Eiichiro Oda’s best-selling manga and one of the greatest Shonen manga ever, One Piece. The first season of the live-action adaptation consists of 8 episodes, which trace through the first 100 chapters of the manga.

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Also Read: “We decided it was too different”: Not Chopper, One Piece Live-Action Had to Skip Another Favorite Animal Character to Focus on Luffy and Zoro

What did One Piece’s showrunner say regarding bringing McKinley Belcher III’s Arlong?

Straw Hat Pirates in One Piece Live-Action
Straw Hat Pirates in One Piece Live-Action

There was a prominent deviation from the manga, which made Maeda conclude that fans would be infuriated. They portrayed Don Krieg briefly compared to Arlong, who wasn’t supposed to be the first major villain in the series. However, according to Maeda, the Mangaka of One Piece, Oda blessed this decision himself.

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“One that I’m sure will be debated endlessly was not leaning into the character of Don Krieg and bringing Arlong up as the Big Bad of the first season,” Maeda told Variety.

As to why Maeda thinks that giving Arlong more screen time than Don Krieg would rage fans out because they deviated from the source material.

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In the One Piece manga, Don Krieg has a much longer arc than just the few moments he was shown in the Netflix series. He was the primary antagonist in the manga for Luffy and the Straw Hats. However, in the Netflix show, he appears briefly and then meets his demise at the hand of master swordsman Mihawk. On the other hand, Arlong actually appears way later in the series as a villain who has controlled Nami since she was a child.

Also Read: “We’ve got a show here”: Everyone on One Piece Set Went Silent After Watching Iñaki Godoy as Monkey D. Luffy

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How did Eiichiro Oda help the showrunners in improvising Netflix’s One Piece?

Iñaki Godoy as Monkey D. Luffy in One Piece
Iñaki Godoy as Monkey D. Luffy in One Piece

“We made these decisions, and Oda blessed it, to bring Arlong to Baratie, introduce him earlier than he is in the manga,” Maeda said and elaborated further upon how making Arlong the first major villain in the series helped the showrunners to “really ramp up towards the last two episodes so that Arlong is our Big Bad of the first season.

There were other significant changes in the series, like how it was exposed halfway through the season that Vice Admiral Garp is Luffy’s grandfather.

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The showrunners, Owens and Maeda, made a plethora of changes, of course, with Oda’s perspective on them. This included essential character details like changes in the appearance of the characters to align them with live-action versions of the Straw Hat members.

The entire mindset of extending and improvising the choices helped Owens, Maeda, and Oda to bring out this fantastic series. The mangaka himself played a massive role in supervising the entire series production. The showrunners didn’t want to copy the manga. Instead, they wanted the live-action to feel less like a cartoon, and Eiichiro Oda supported this decision.

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Also Read: Wano Arc and One Piece Live Action’s Success has Eiichiro Oda Going All Out in Latest Manga Chapter, Making Things Even More Challenging for the Straw Hat Pirates

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Written by Archak

Despite holding a degree in Chemistry Majors, Archak found himself as a Journalist. His love for anime and choccy milk is unmatched! When not writing, Archak can be found indulging with motorcycles. After all, four wheels move the body but two wheels move the soul!